The situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan is deteriorating. Now Russia should stabilize as a protective force. And Chancellor Merkel is trying to mediate.

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has called for an armistice in the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region in the two belligerent neighboring states, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Merkel called Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani Head of State Ilham Aliyev, as government spokesman Steffen Seibert announced in Berlin on Tuesday. The Chancellor made it clear that a ceasefire and negotiations were urgent. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) could be the basis for this.

In case of further escalation, Armenia will call on Russia as a protective force. The Russian military base in Gyumri is the main security factor in the region, Armenian ambassador to Moscow, Vardan Toganyan, told Interfax agency. “The base has always played a stabilizing role,” he said. Gyumri is located about 120 kilometers north of the Armenian capital Yerevan. A garrison in Yerevan is also part of the military base. A total of about 3,500 Russian soldiers are stationed at the sites. The base includes a tank battalion, dozens of fighters and missile defense systems. The troops are also responsible for border security. The contract for the Russian military base will run until 2044.

Been fighting since Sunday

There has been fighting in the region since Sunday. The warring states of Armenia and Azerbaijan have declared a state of war. The international community calls for an immediate end to the fighting and a return to the negotiating table for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

In the capital Stepanakert in Nagorno-Karabakh, parliament speaker Artur Towmassyan accused Azerbaijan and Turkey of choosing the language of violence. “This war, started by the Azerbaijani-Turkish tandem, is not a war of the Azerbaijani people, but a war for Ilham Aliyev to maintain his own power,” the politician said. Authoritarian Azerbaijani President Aliyev had again accused Armenia of attacking his country.

As of Monday evening, Nagorno Karabakh confirmed a total of 89 deaths since Sunday. Azerbaijan reported nine deaths, including civilians. There were also many injuries on both sides.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres again called for an immediate end to the fighting. Guterres reported this via video telephone to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, a UN spokesman said in New York on Monday. Guterres had already expressed “extremely concerned” about the escalation of the conflict on Sunday. He called for an immediate resumption of negotiations and for OSCE observers to be returned to the region.

Azerbaijan linked with Turkey

Meanwhile, several members of the UN Security Council have put the matter on the agenda. The initiative came from Germany and France and, according to diplomatic circles, was backed by Belgium, Great Britain and Estonia.

Left-wing MEP Martina Michels called the renewed war in Nagorno-Karabakh a “serious setback for liaison projects, especially in the South Caucasus”. The European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) called for a “swift return to the negotiating table”. In addition, the EU must also place its cooperation with Turkey in all relations “on a basis that is secure under international law”. At the moment, the EU is just watching “as Turkey is also destabilizing the region in its eastern neighbors”.

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